REVIEWS -- MARCH 17, 2000

                             Blink 182 – Adam’s Song
     (*½)  Well, we’ve finally reached the point where the members of Blink 182 want to make it on their own musical merits, not because of some brainless but catchy single where they run around naked in the video. “Adam’s Song,” as you may have read in a recent Entertainment Weekly blurb, is based on a disgruntled young man’s suicide note (“Sixteen held such better days”). The band plays in an empty warehouse while the camera roves in and out between photos on the wall behind them, photos that then come to life. These pictures are mostly of people looking morose, which is becoming more of a theme these days. There are Moby, Madonna and Buckcherry videos out with the same sad commoners – everyone’s turning into the “Ain’t that America?” Mellencamp of the ‘80s. As for the song, I don’t know; it sounds like it’s on the up-and-up, intentions-wise, but the lyrics are so poorly written and the music so simplistic you can’t take it seriously even for a second. Might as well jump. –Andrew Hicks

Blaque – I Do
 (**)  The music for the new Blaque song sounds less like Destiny’s Child than the Spice Girls, and I guess that’s a niche to be exploited since the real Spice Girls are out of commission. (Sporty Spice and her pecs are busy promoting their solo album.) You know, I think it’s interesting that music times have fallen so low that Left Eye from TLC is now allowed to “discover” fresh talent. Yes, Left Eye is Blaque’s baby momma, and she’s all over this new video. What can I say about it? Well, it’s colorful, and there are a lot of interesting shapes. And, by the three-minute mark, “I Do” becomes a fully embodied, dance-happy Gap commercial. It makes me think that, for classification purposes, we should introduce a made-for-TRL subcategory. That’s all this shit is, but it seems to have fooled Jenelle from Brooklyn, who requested this song Wednesday afternoon because “I do give my man all the love he need!” Somehow I don’t think Casey Kasem will be reading that as a request and dedication anytime soon. –AH

Fatlip – What’s Up, Fatlip?
     (**½)  Wonder of wonders – instead of following his Being John Malkovich success by directing a music video for, well, whatever the fuck he wants, Spike Jonze makes his return via the novelty hip-hop of Fatlip, who somewhat resembles Ol’ Dirty Bastard without all the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome side-effects. The intro lets you know what you’ll be in for, as Fatlip, wearing a clown costume, is nailed in the nuts by a little kid. Finally, the loser rap of Skee-Lo updated for the new millennium. “What’s Up, Fatlip?” does have its charms, though, as Fatlip suffers an identity crisis (“Sometimes I don’t feel black”) and wanders the barren streets of the city on his bicycle, which he promptly falls off of. The video even comes with a mocking laugh track, which makes you just feel sorry for the guy. And by the end, you realize he doesn’t resemble Ol’ Dirty so much as the magazine salesman from Office Space who spent many years addicted to crack-cocaine. I don’t anticipate a long shelf life for this one, but catch it if you can. –AH 

Whitney Houston – I Learned From the Best (HQ2 uptempo mix)
     (*½)  Quietly, with very little fanfare, Whitney Houston has assaulted us with the most videos from an album since 1993’s janet. Her secret weapon? The remix video, and this makes at least three of those. I’m thinking seven videos into it and I still don’t even know anyone who owns the My Love Is Your Love album. Again, same video as last time (did the original even make a dent on MTV?) but quicker, and more of the same wronged “You go, girl!” shit. Since when is gospel Whitney entitled to become an indignant Springer guest? –AH

Mya f/Jadakiss – Best of Me
Mya - Best Of Me
     (**)  I’m sorry; I just masturbated through this entire video. Was I supposed to review it? –AH
Mya - Best Of Me

Rollins Band – Infatuation
     (**½)  How viable is this, really? Rollins seems like the kind of guy you could hang out with in a group every once in awhile, but who you would never want to call your friend. Somehow I can picture myself trying to get off the phone with him and him not getting the hint. In “Infatuation,” Rollins seems to be wandering the streets of some third-world city before retiring to a soundstage with his band, where they play against a backdrop that looks exactly like the one from the Blink 182 video, except with political band posters in place of the photos of suicidal youngsters. It’s all strangely worth it, though, when Rollins does a little righteous snake handling… No, that’s not an innuendo; Henry Rollins really does handle a snake in this video. If that sounds like your thing, you need to watch “120 Minutes” for the next two weeks. Otherwise, you’ll probably never catch “Infatuation.” –AH

Sisqo – Thong Song
     (**)  In the odd intro, Sisqo is sequestered in his mansion, barking out orders to friends via cell phone as his toddler daughter confronts him with a red lace bra she found lying around. “Daddy, what’s this?” she asks, and Sisqo spins around with near-perfect comic timing to catch his wife’s reaction. (Then again, it doesn’t hurt that, with his bleached hair and peach fuzz, he looks just like Kel Mitchell in Mystery Men.) The wife shrugs, figuring this is expected behavior, I guess, and the song begins. “Thong Song” is, as you’d expect, about bikini thongs; it begins with sampled violins and strings but soon disintegrates into formula R+B. ("Show me that tha-th-th-tha thong!") The chorus actually includes the phrase “livin’ la vida loca,” for Christ’s sake, and the video is basically your average beach-party romp with a pseudo-Hype Williams neon interlude thrown in. This is the kind of shit you don’t normally see in March, but I guess it is almost MTV Spring Break season. This goes on way too long for its own good. –AH
     (**)  This platinum-haired little shit from Dru Hill has said that he wants this to be the most talked-about video since "Thriller." Doesn't this idiot realize that the video featuring a naked D'Angelo is the most talked about? Obviously, I don't like this guy. Dru Hill was a decent group, but Sisqo sang all the lead vocals – so his solo efforts sound no different from his group efforts. Now, the making of this video on MTV was the finest half-hour of television ever made. There was ass for days, and the girls were all wearing thongs. My 12-year-old brother watched it with me, and that boy reached puberty right then and there. (You don't want to know what he did when he saw Jennifer Lopez in that dress at the Grammies. Kidding.) But the “Thong Song” video left a lot to be desired. The girls are in the video – by the busload, coming into Miami Beach – but where are the thongs? I guess the MTV Standards Department wouldn’t let it fly. Instead, we see Sisqo dancing around, showing off his bare chest, and no thong-th-thong-thong-thongs at all. I was sorely disappointed. The song itself is catchy but undecipherable to the average listener. Still, that doesn't stop the homeboys around my town from bumping this from their truck-truck-truck thighs like what-what-what?? –Guest Reviewer Leon Bracey

Smashing Pumpkins – Stand Inside Your Love
     (***)  Ah, yes, it’s The Cabinet of Dr. Corgan, as the Powerman 5000 antics of “Everlasting Gaze” give way to the lower-key, more traditional Pumpkins track “Stand Inside Your Love.” Well, it’s as low key as any video featuring James Iha playing a guitar with a bow can be, anyway. The visuals are black-and-white, calculatedly random and set either in ovals or vertical matting. The new Destiny’s Child video made me wonder whether a video could be filmed in a vertical aspect ratio and still work. This one pretty much does, but you have to be able to tolerate the expected Crow 2: City of Angels, goth-that-won’t-fucking-die elements. And I’m actually going to see these guys live in a few weeks in Kansas City. Oh, how the times have changed – I’m paying 35 bucks to see Uncle Fester’s reform-school son in concert. Three stars, I guess. Why the hell not? –AH

Tina Turner – When the Heartache is Over
     (*)  I have a feeling that, the whole time Cher was riding out her undeserved comeback a year ago, Tina Turner was standing in the on-deck circle, swinging a bat with a few doughnut rings and wondering when that plastic surgeon’s dream would step off and let her take the fucking plate. Well, it’s Tina’s turn now, and VH1 seems to be willing to play ball (haven’t seen this one on MTV yet, but I’m not exactly holding my breath). The song does indeed feature the same bad disco-fag dance beat, although it sounds less like bad Cher than bad Taylor Dayne. And if you’ve never heard bad Taylor Dayne, all I can say is, ouch. Tina dances in front of a giant, flashing “Tina” sign while fake flames lick up the sides of the screen. The intended reaction? Damn, this is hot! My reaction? Damn, this is lame! And, yeah, Tina has rented the same model/dancers from past Cher, Brian Setzer, Ricky Martin and Mark Anthony videos. Make four bad adult-contemporary videos and your fifth is free of charge, I guess. –AH

Classic Videos

Pink Floyd – Another Brick in the Wall (1980)
     (****)  This VH1 Classic Rock selection from The Wall is anti-authority on an almost Dickensian-workhouse level. The patriarch / headmaster / CEO / slave-driver sits at a table with his wife, placidly drinking tea – a subdued but maniacal look on his face – and out of nowhere envisions belt-spanking the wife. Then the parade begins, the parade of brain-washed kids who go into the machine and come out mangled, broken-down and uniform, only to march through an overwhelming corporate maze. The video only gets better as it goes, culminating in the kind of complete destruction Limp Bizkit could only dream of. This is powerful music cinema on an almost ageless level, and I’ll admit I start to lose interest in The Wall toward the two-thirds mark, but “Another Brick” keeps my attention throughout. Thank God for the radio hits, I guess. –AH


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